Vaguely inspired by an old fairy tale called “The Snow Queen,” Frozen tells the story of two sisters, young princesses of Arendelle. Elsa is born with the power to summon snow and ice, while her younger sister, Anna, is completely normal. After an icy mishap one night, the king and queen close the castle gates and Elsa vows to never leave her room until she learns control for her steadily growing powers. The sisters live in near isolation, even from each other, for years. Elsa’s coronation as queen forces the castle to open once more, but events lead to her mountainous exile and eternal winter settling over Arendelle. Anna sets off an adventure to find her sister and thaw the kingdom, discovering the importance of family, love, and sacrifice along the way.
Idina Menzel, vocal superstar known for her work in Broadway musicals, provides stunning emotion as Elsa, a quiet princess shut away from the world, unable to control her icy powers.
Kristen Bell proves capable of holding her own in the role of Anna, Arendelle’s younger princess who’s desperate for some human contact after years of having only a few servants and guards for company.
Santino Fontana brings the charming Prince Hans to life. With 12 royal brothers, Prince Hans has a situation opposite to Anna’s, but like her, Hans often feels invisible. He’s also looking for a bit of romance.
Jonathan Groff voices Kristoff, a kindhearted ice harvester who, along with his reindeer friend Sven, was raised by trolls. Though his voice acting is superb, he has only one woefully short, though hilarious, song.
Olaf the happy snowman finds his voice in Josh Gad, who portrays the quirky character with a superb mix of comedy and heartwarming innocence.
Frozen holds a lot in common with recent Disney princess movies Tangled and Brave. For example, Anna’s personality is reminiscent of Rapunzel, understandable considering they both had overwhelmingly solitary childhoods. The three movies also share similar themes, and even aspects of plot. In Frozen, Disney continues its examination of different types of love and relationships, which it began in Brave with the central mother-daughter conflict and general aversion to romance. Disney’s most recent offering, however, distills the best bits from its predecessors while still providing it with a unique creative spark. Frozen gives a solid mix of drama, action, and humor, though the comedy can seem a bit forced at times. The characters are fairly complex and examine a variety of relationships, playing with a couple classic fairy tale clichés along the way. An all-star voice cast conjures believable and sincere emotions in the audience as well as on-screen. With beautiful animation and a catchy soundtrack as icing on the cake, the memorable characters and strong plot make Frozen one of my favorite movies of 2013.